Dementia Special Interest Group

This month we have seen lots of exciting events taking place and the health team at MacIntyre have been in warp speed. We held our twice-yearly 'Dementia Specialist Interest Group' (known as the DSIG) and we were privileged to have the amazing Kate Swaffer join us as our special guest Kate Swaffer: Creating life with words: Inspiration, love and truth Kate joined us (virtually) from Australia to provide her personal perspective on living with dementia. 

One of Kate’s most notable achievements is co-founding the Dementia Alliance International in 2014. DAI has gone from strength to strength since and indeed we featured DAI members at our September 2018 Dementia Special Interest Group – You can read more about this on the DAI website here The power of our voices - Dementia Alliance International.

The group is led by Sarah Ormston, MacIntyre's Health, Dementia and Wellbeing Manager, MacIntyre's Dying to Talk Project and me. We also work closely with Beth Britton, one of the UK’s leading dementia campaigners Beth Britton - Content Creator : Consultant : Trainer & Mentor : Campaigner & Speaker. It was a great morning with lots planned for the rest of the year.

Learning Disabilities and Dementia: World Young Leaders in Dementia

I was also given the opportunity to produce a blog for the World Young Leaders in Dementia which was shared to coincide with World Down’s Syndrome Day Learning disabilities and dementia – I was rocking my socks – Were you? 


Dementia webinars

I have been busy developing a series of webinars for people within MacIntyre, 17 in total. Each one will have a Dementia focus on subjects such as Sleep/Sundowning, good food and nutrition and changed behaviour. Following each webinar, I will hold a drop-in session where staff can come along and ask questions, or book one to one time with me if they need to speak confidentially.

How to start a dementia-friendly garden

Anyway, back to the daffodils and spring… Thinking about the fond memories which come to the fore of my mind when thinking about the signs of spring, this is a great time to start a dementia-friendly garden project #LoveYourGarden2 but where to start...

  • Think about how you can incorporate improving the person’s wellbeing into your use of outdoor spaces. A garden can be a great place to be more active and take notice.

  • Work with the person to choose their favourite plants. Plants can provide auditory and visual stimulation and can help the person to relax, e.g. bamboos and grasses that rustle, or seed pods that pop, and/or those that have pleasant or interesting smells and textures to provide people with additional sensory stimulation.

  • Also think about growing edible plants – fruit, vegetables and herbs from the garden may help to stimulate a flagging appetite.

  • Check fences and boundaries in the garden to ensure they are appropriate and safe.

  • Fitting handrails next to garden paths and providing well-lit seating areas outside are useful for the person to be able to sit and have time alone to relax.

  • Ensure walking areas are clear and consider having raised beds for ease of access.

  • If you have a suitable area for sitting and eating, plan some alfresco meals and teatime treats to give the person a change of scene at mealtimes.


I hope you have found these tips useful. If you want to know a little more about designing your own garden, then the links below might be of interest.

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